Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Party a huge success!

Our annual Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange was the best one ever with over 50 gifts exchanged. It took quite a while to finish but we had a ball and everyone stayed for Karaoke afterwards.

We kept Hollister Taxi hopping all evening. A big shout out goes to Liz and her crew for taking such good care of all of us. Speaking of which; if you're coming to Johnny's to join us for our New Years Eve bash, dinner or both call our friends at Hollister Taxi and it's only $10.00 round trip from anywhere in Hollister.

And don't forget to come down New Years Day for our Giant's party. We're petitioning the Giant's to add Hollister to their World Series Trophy Tour. Bring an inspirational letter and join us for free chili dogs and pizza and be a part of the video and pictures we're sending to the team.

On Sunday January 2nd we're having our anniversary party celebrating 17 years as owners of Johnny's. Paul Z is doing his magic with his barrel BBQ and good friends are bringing side dishes. We'll see if our 49ers can win one with their interim coach, sadly Singletary just couldn't get the job done.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December musings

It's dinner time and I haven't written a word in my book. Tuesday's are usually dedicated entirely to writing but I got thrown way off track today. After my morning workout I ran errands and when I returned home from the grocery store my urge to play Suzy Homemaker and do a little online Christmas shopping won out. My Christmas cards are ordered, there is a pie in the oven and short ribs in the crock pot. I am honoring my promise to myself to blog every week so here I am. I don't have any exciting news to share except that my new t-shirt design is finally finished and the new shirts are coming off the presses as I write. Fast Eddies Custom Screen Printing is the bomb. Not only is the company fast but it is a local, family owned company. My bartender Kathleen and her husband Eddie own it and their son Shawn drew up the artwork for my shirts. I think everyone will agree after seeing the new design that he is one talented dude.

Our pal Robbie Scattini was sworn in at the Hollister City Council meeting last night. I'm sorry to say that I didn't get to witness the auspicious occasion. We're thrilled to have him back on board. He is the reason we had 2007 & 2008 motorcycle rallies. My husband says I need to give up on the rally and look for something else that will generate business for our sleepy little community. How does the West Coast Punkin Chunkin Contest sound? We watched the Chunk that's held in Delaware on the Discovery Channel and it was great. Like our debunked rally, their event generates lots of money for non-profits, and it brings upwards of 50,000 spectators to a very rural area; it takes place East of Bridgeville Delaware. We may not be the farming community we once were but I think there's some real potential here. Even Hollister law enforcement could get behind this idea, unless of course any event that brings thousands of people to our community and the extra work that goes along with it is frowned on by our understaffed police department. Of course with more revenue maybe the city could afford to hire more officers. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Firing up the debate

The letter to the editor that ran in the Freelance about Hollister Police Chief Miller retiring spurred plenty of activity in the newspapers online comment section. I am always interested in hearing what people have to say but I believe a forum that allows people to post their thoughts anonymously is flawed. I always attach my name to any articles I write or comments I make and I believe that everyone should be required to do the same. Any coward can lash out and say nasty things about people when they are allowed to hide behind online pseudonyms. I try not to respond to any of the slanderous comments but sometimes I can't help myself. However I am not about to get into a battle of words with anyone who doesn't have the courage to attach their name to their comments. I would however love to hear from fellow bloggers that identify themselves and invite you all to share your feelings about what I write whether positive or negetive and I promise to respond to your questions and comments with honesty and integrity.

I would like to clear up a serious misconception regarding the Hollister Motorcycle Rally and Johnny's. It does bring in some much needed extra income for us. When we have a rally, during the month of July we do about one month's extra business. That does not equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars as some people would like to think. We only have so much space and it is limited. Out of the extra money we make we pay a food bill as well as beer and liquor bills that have doubled, twenty five extra employees wages and many other extras. I take the opportunity to give extra money to our church and local charities like the Community Pantry. We purchase new equipment and make necessary repairs to the bar. If there is any left after that we put it in the bank for relief during slower times which usually befall us by the middle of August.

The rally isn't all about money in the first place. It put Hollister on the map and gives people a reason to get off the freeway. Because of the historical significance that Johnny's holds we see people from all over the globe and we love it. People from as far away as Australia, Italy, Japan, France and Germany come to visit us and soak up some history. Johnny's is to Hollister what the Arch is to Saint Louis or the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco. This may not seem like a great analogy to some people but we are the tourist destination of our fair city and proud of it. People are free to stop by and check out our guest book any time. It is truly amazing.

My prayer is that the new political climate will allow us to once again have a fun motorcycle rally that brings lots of business to our deserted downtown. We have lost many businesses that were icons in this city which saddens me. I thank God every day for a wonderful business with the best customers that anyone could hope to have. My employee's are awesome too and that's why people keep coming back. Feel free to share your thoughts, just be sure to sign your name.

Hollister Police Chief Retires ( Well sort of )

Chief Miller is officially retiring. When asked for my opinion on the subject by the Freelance my first response was, “Thank God, it’s about time.” My comments, when shared from the reporter’s point of view did not reflect the scope of my feelings on the subject and I wanted to personally share my thoughts with readers.
First let me say that I believe that Chief Miller is a good man and a Christian. Because I own Johnny’s Bar & Grill, there are many ways that he could make my life a living hell but despite our disagreements the bar has a good working relationship with the Hollister Police Department. Any criticism I’ve shared about the way the chief handles the rally, I have shared with him personally, either face to face or via email. For that reason, I believe that despite our differences we share a mutual respect.
As to the way his retirement is being handled, I have some questions that I’m sure the voting public would like the answers to. The council has known about the chief’s planned retirement for quite some time. I personally heard the rumor more than six months ago. I can’t help wondering why they were not searching for a new chief long before the official announcement was made. If there are policies in place that kept them from looking until the last minutes please fill me in.
According to our city manager Clint Quilter the new six month contract with the chief saves money because the city would have to pay for outside help as well as lodging and other services if the chief left. What other services is he talking about, and would the outside help be paid more than the chief’s wages plus his retirement? I don’t pretend to understand how the system works so please, explain this to me. Aren’t Hollister resident tax dollars paying for the chief’s retirement and his wages now that he is staying on? Not paying for the chiefs medical benefits can’t possibly save us $40,000 in six months can it? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent and fiscally responsible to have a replacement in line for the chief months ago?
Every politician that I have spoken with on the subject has said that there is a very little chance that the Sheriff’s Department and HPD will be consolidating services any time soon, if at all, so putting off the search for a new chief to see how that played out wouldn’t make sense.
If a replacement is hired from within a positive attitude towards our rally is not likely. I saw how things went with the sheriff’s department when Curtis Hill replaced Sheriff Nyland. The mentality and politics never changed, but I’ll save my thoughts on the sheriff’s department for another time.
Because of Sheriff Hill and Chief Miller’s prejudice towards bikers they used law enforcement cost’s put an end to an event that put Hollister on the map, stimulated the local economy and raised funds for many local non-profits. With a new, unconnected man in the sheriffs’ office I hope to see change there. I fear that if the new chief is chosen from within he’ll share Miller’s view of bikers, and law enforcement costs, the only impediment to a financially viable and successful rally, will still be in place. And if his predecessor doesn’t share the chief’s Christian values I may wind up wishing Miller was still around, Lord help me!
Ray Friend has honored his word to try to bring our rally back in 2011. There are many hurdles to overcome to get it done next year but people should know that there are serious efforts under way and with the change in the political climate I am remaining hopeful. In the meantime email and call your council members with your support for the rally. Our economy desperately needs the boost of 100,000 visitors again and we need to keep the pressure on.
To the Chief I say God Bless you and I wish you all the best in your retirement. My prayer is that in seminary school you will not learn to become more religious but will come to be more like Jesus and see that your preconception of bikers is not only wrong but unchristian. There’s a story in the Bible about when Jesus chose Matthew, a tax collector which in his time was one of the worst types of people (could be a one percent biker of today) and called him to be his disciple. The Pharisee’s were appalled that Jesus would associate with such undesirables. Let me share with you from The New Living Translation Bible what Jesus had to say about it.
Matthew 9/10-13 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” “Healthy people don’t need a doctor - sick people who do!” Then he added, “Now go away and learn the meaning of this Scripture: I want you show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
If Jesus were on earth today he would more than likely plant himself at one of the local bars in the thick of the rally, share His love with unbelievers, and many would come to know him because of an interaction with him.
Both professed Christians Chief Miller and Sheriff Hill missed a wonderful opportunity to show a multitude of people the love of Jesus, and instead chose to be self-righteous Pharisees. Although the chief wisely chose not to be as vocal about his opinion of bikers as Mr. Hill, as a leader his attitude towards them was exemplified by his team during the motorcycle rally. Friendly and welcoming has never been a description I’ve heard used to describe the packs of officers that roam around town during the event. Whatever the future holds for Hollister’s law enforcement, our city council needs our prayers for guidance in handing it. You can be sure they will have mine.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lights On Parade

Time is flying by like the wind and I have been shamefully lax about blogging. Between running the bar and trying to finish the book I'm writing about life at Johnny's it's hard to keep up with the daily routine much less the extras. Hollister's 20th annual Lights On Parade is Saturday November 27th and it is always a great time. I'm praying that rain doesn't ruin it. We haven't had a float in the parade for about twelve years now because the stress of building it (Tommy was still drinking back then) almost sent us to divorce court. Now we're happy to serve the beverages that warm the tummy and watch the parade go by. Come on down and join us and stay for dancing with the Bomb Shell Bullies at about 8:30. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Pinnacle Opinion Letter

I wrote a letter to the editor thanking the folks that showed up at the city council meeting Monday August 2nd to show their support for our motorcycle rally and discussed how I thought it all played out. I finished with a little humor that didn't sound quite as funny with the change of one word. Replacing mud, as in wrestling with sumo to be politically correct with out taking out the other references to mud wrestling made the whole thing sound a bit silly to me. I'm putting the original letter on this blog so that you can be the judge. Sometimes you just can't take life too seriously. God Bless, Charisse

I’d like to say a big thank you to the folks that showed up for the Monday night City Council meeting in support of our motorcycle rally. The rally was not on the agenda but the motive of being there was to speak to the council during the public comment portion of the meeting and let them know that our community wants its rally back. My letter to the editor of the Pinnacle requesting that citizens who wanted the rally back show up Monday night did not make it into the Friday edition and with only word of mouth, Face Book and a few posters we had around twenty five people show up. Of those fifteen or so filled out comment cards. Speaking in public is a huge fear for many people and sadly about five of them lost their nerve. Thanks for the effort folks, sometimes fear overrides passion. You all had your hearts in the right place. The ten people that did take the podium spoke eloquently and had very good points to make. I was very proud to be among them.
As most people know I’m an old hat at addressing the council myself. I’ve been fighting for the rally almost every year since the idea was birthed. While I was speaking I looked at the chief and the smirk smeared across his face said, “Keep trying Charisse. You will never win, not as long as I am chief.” If the council refuses to scrutinize the law enforcement bill and make perfectly reasonable cutbacks he will be right.
Pauline Valdevia said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “The council didn’t cancel the rally, we just said that we wouldn’t pay for it with tax payer dollars. Anyone who wanted to have a rally and cover law enforcement costs was welcome to put one on. ” As long as the bill for law enforcement is at the outrageous level that it has been for the last four rallies no one will be able to come up with enough money cover it and make a profit. The chief knows it, the tax payers know it, and smart council members know it.
Ray Friend stated that he was the council liaison for the rally and that he wanted to work with anyone who wants to help bring it back. I believe that he is sincere but once again if law enforcement costs aren’t adjusted we are just peeing in the wind, please excuse the expression.
Our mayor Victor Gomez pretty much repeated what Pauline said, “We want to have a rally, we just don’t want to pay for it out of the general fund.”
Mayor Gomez has accused me of wanting to have a rally without having to do any of the work. I guess he doesn’t remember that I was chairperson for the 2007 Hollister Motorcycle Rally Committee. I put my money where my mouth was and worked my tail off for most of a year. Our committee turned over our responsibilities to the Chamber of Commerce for the 2008 rally and I have it on pretty good authority that if we had said no to the move there never would have been one. We know how that turned out. The cities attempt to sell t-shirts flopped. Despite the fact that the rally was moved off of the Fourth of July weekend and the bikes were not on San Benito Street, a change bikers despise by the way, Chief Miller added yet another $29,000 to the law enforcement bill and he broke the city and Seth Daulton.
I am still hopeful that we can work something out. Many people have stepped forward that want to help. I would love to see the Hollister Down Town Association get involved. They have done such a great job with the Farmers Market, and this years Street Festival was the best.
It’s all going to come down to paying for law enforcement. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out a way to earn a big chunk of change to put towards a rally. While I was picturing the smirk on the chiefs’ face an idea came to me. If I were to get him to agree to mud wrestle me in the middle of Fifth Street in front of city hall, no bikini for me I would wear a demure one piece, I’m sure I could raise $100,000. I would open up an account at San Benito Bank for donations, put an add in the Thunder Press, promote it on Face Book and I’ll bet we’d have the money in no time. If you knew how much I hate getting dirty you would understand what a huge sacrifice this would be for me. Heck, I don’t even like being splashed in the face with water while in the pool and I try not to get my hair wet. I know the chiefs stronger than me and I’m sure he’d love to bury my face in the mud, but with my shear determination I may get in a few good licks. I know we would draw one heck of a crowd that would gladly donate to watch. We could auction off the best seats to the highest bidder and bring in the big bucks. The only problem with that is that so many bikers would want to watch that the chief would probably charge the city $125,000 for extra law enforcement for the day and we’d be back in the hole.
Sincerely, Charisse Tyson

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quiet 4th of July weekend bad for business

Quiet Weekend Great for Law Enforcement, Bad for Business

The quiet Fourth of July weekend made law enforcements job easier but it didn’t add any desperately needed funds to the coffers of local business or government. Johnny’s history makes us a favorite biker destination and I am grateful for the folks that came in to eat, drink and soak up some history. However, if I did a small fraction of the business that I would do during a rally how disappointing was it for the rest of the businesses that benefit from one? Many suffered a loss, hundreds of unemployed missed out on a least some temporary work, and non-profits didn’t earn any money for their charities. The First Methodist church has counted on their Biker Breakfast for a huge chunk of their annual income for years and it has all but vanished. I’m past being angry and am sad and disgusted. The city council needs to understand that we can’t afford not to have a rally. It doesn’t take a math wiz to see the loss to our city, our county and even the entire state of California.
People came from all over the world to attend our rally. If they are riding down from Washington and Oregon or up from Arizona and New Mexico they need to travel through much of California to get to our sleepy little town. As a biker I know that on a long ride we make several stops to rest our tired back sides and they almost always constitute purchasing gas, food, and beverages. In this lousy economy many motorcycle enthusiasts could not afford to go to Sturgis or Daytona and we could have been a vacation destination for tens of thousands of them.
The loyal bikers that did show up were tailgated on San Benito Street by law enforcement who hoped to find a reason to site them. They had a quota to meet. I’ve never gotten confirmation that quotas exist but if you don’t believe they do I have some ocean front property in Phoenix for sale. Many citations were issued for things that are ignored all year long. Welcome to Hollister. Since there was no rally the stabbing down town was not considered an incident. It didn’t involve bikers or Johnny’s patrons but I assure you if there had been a rally the incident would have been mentioned and even associated with it.
Most people understand that mine is not a selfish struggle. Hollister needs our rally. Without the rally we are not a tourist destination. We have many wonderful wineries, a chocolate factory, the Pinnacles National Monument and very scenic countryside. None of that draws more than a hundred thousand people to our county. Because of our undeniable place in history a motorcycle rally does. And guess what? Once they are here they find out about all of the wonderful things our area has to offer and a lot of them come back to visit again, not just on Fourth of July weekend.
What is it going to take to get the Hollister City Council to take off the blinders and see the big picture? If a hundred business owners and residents would show up at a council meeting and address the council during its public comment portion they could not ignore us. Many people want the rally but they don’t care enough to do anything about it. Take a few hours out of your Monday night and support something that you believe in. You don’t like to speak in public? I don’t either, but I got past it. All you need to do is state your name and your address and say, “I want our rally back.” How hard can that be? Standing by idle and complaining will not fix this problem. I beseech all of you who care to show up at city hall on Monday August 2nd and tell your council members how you feel. Sincerely, Charisse Tyson

Saturday, June 26, 2010

July 4th weekend party

I can't believe another fourth of July weekend is around the corner and we are rallyless once again. We plan on having a great weekend anyway. There are plenty of bikers that refuse to let the tradition die and we love and appreciate each and every one of you. The Boozefighters that call Johnny's their home will be here with bells on and they are the life of the party. We're kicking off the party on Thursday July 1st with Karaoke at 9:00. We open at 8:00 am Friday through Sunday for breakfast serving chicken fried steak and eggs and many other favorites. Our famous BBQ will be ready at 11:00 featuring our great burgers, pork sandwiches, teriyaki shirt steak, my award winning chili and more. A Boozefighter favorite the Los Hightops band will be playing for us on Friday from 8:00 to 12:00. This is a Boozefighter party so if we are at capacity Boozefighters will be our priority. Thanks for your understanding. These folks do a lot for us at Johnny's. Saturday night the party continues with Karaoke at 8:30. At sunset Sunday we'll have our annual show in the alley with our safe and sane fire works. Ice cold beer, great food and good friends, what more could you ask for?

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Great Cinco De Mayo

We had a great Cinco De Mayo.

Good food and good times were had by all. Our feature burger the Hollister Heat, entered by our own Pastor Henry got the first "10" rating since our contest began. I saw my friend Terra that enjoyed the burger today and she down graded it to a 9 because of next day issues. Those Serrano chili’s will come back to haunt you. Yesterday Annie’s entry the Rolling Thunder got a 10 followed up with an OMG in the comment section.

We’re having a hard time getting people to try the specials because they are hooked on either our standard cheese burger or their own concoction. We’re having fun with the contest though so come on down and judge one of our entries.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm slipping.

It seems like time is flying by so fast that I can't keep up. I'm trying to work on my book, get ready for my tax man, run the bar and sneak in some down town with my husband and I'm getting way behind on my web site and blog. Consequently events come and go and I forgot to announce them at all. So here's a run down of what's happening at Johnny's in March.

Friday March 13th at 7:00 p.m., we are honoring Cathy Micheal, a friend we lost to ovarian cancer with a benefit that will include great food and a raffle with all proceeds going to The American Cancer Society in her name. We'll follow it up with one of Cathy's favorite past times, Johnny's Karaoke.

I shouldn't need to tell you what Wednesday the 17th is. The annual Johnny's Saint Patrick's Day Bash promises to be a good one. We will be serving corned beef and cabbage at lunch as always and the free spread is at 6:30 p.m. Get here early for a good seat. We have been Hollister's St. Patty's day party headquarters for more than sixty years. The camaraderie is great and the corned beef melts in your mouth.

Saturday March 27th the Bomb Shell Bullies are back at 9:00 p.m. If you haven't heard them you don't know what you're missing. Put on your dancing shoes and come on down.

Sunday March 28th the Top Hatters annual Bike Blessing is at noon at Sacred Heart Church. Sign ups for the ride and event at Bolado Park afterwards are at Whiskey Creek starting at 10:00 a.m. At Johnny's we'll be serving breakfast beginning at 9:00 and our famous burgers and steaks from 11:00a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Join us for a blessed time.

Well that's March for you. April is full events too and i promise to be more diligent with my posts. Thanks for tuning in, Charisse